Wednesday Feb 21

Former Cayman Islands Football Association official sent to US in FIFA scandal


GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) -- Costas Takkas, the former secretary-general of the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) and one time attaché to Jeffrey Webb when he was president of CONCACAF, has been extradited to the US ten months after he was arrested in Zürich alongside Webb and other FIFA officials when the massive football corruption scandal broke.
costas_takkas.jpg
Costas Takkas, the former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association
Swiss officials said on Tuesday that he was escorted by two US police officers on the flight to New York, where he was handed over to US authorities, following the failure of his appeal earlier this month against the extradition decision. He has reportedly pleaded not guilty to bribery charges and is now under house arrest

Takkas, who was born in Cyprus and holds both Greek and British nationalities, is accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes while working for Webb on his behalf, regarding marketing rights related to various football tournaments.

The appeal by Julio Rocha, the former president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation, was also rejected earlier this month. He is the only FIFA official still in Swiss custody, the authorities in Zürich stated.

The Swiss approved his extradition to the US in October, which has taken precedence over extradition to Nicaragua, as his home country had also asked for Rocha in relation to their own corruption probe. Rocha has ten days in which to lodge an appeal with the Federal Supreme Court in Switzerland.

As the FIFA scandal continues to roll on, Webb, who has already been convicted of racketeering charges, is expected to be sentenced in June. He remains under house arrest in his Atlanta mansion, which appears to have been financed by ill-gotten gains from his time as a football boss and from a corrupt contract he and convicted fraudster Canover Watson had with the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.

The details were revealed in the eight-week trial in which Watson was convicted but Webb was not in the dock as a result of his US case. Although Cayman officials had previously spoken about Webb’s extradition from Switzerland to his home country, there has been no indication from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions whether an official request has been made to the United States since Webb agreed to cooperate with the authorities there in the FIFA case.

Webb is also now facing a lawsuit from FIFA to try and recover some of the funds they say Webb creamed off during his times as CONCACAF president and FIFA VP. Although he gave up some $6.7 million to the US authorities, the sports body does not believe a thorough seizure of Webb’s assets has been made after he was pictured on CNS enjoying his wife’s lavish 40th Harlem Renaissance-themed birthday party last month on the weekend his best friend and business partner Watson began serving a seven-year prison sentence.

Republished with permission of Cayman News Service

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